PCT PLEDGE

THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE

CONGRESS OF TEACHERS

Volume XXXV, No. 13 March 18, 1998

 

HOW LIKELY IS AN NEA/AFT MERGER

By Morty Rosenfeld

It appears certain that the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers will resolve their outstanding differences and agree on a statement of principles to be voted on at the conventions of each organization in July. What is uncertain is whether the respective conventions of both organizations will adopt the document which will lay out a blueprint for a full merger by the year 2002.

It will take a vote of two thirds of the delegates to the NEA convention to adopt the statement of principles. I fear that this will be a difficult vote to get. Although the agreement as it appears to be developing comes closer to the NEA negotiating position on almost every issue, and although the envisaged merged organization looks, at least to me more like the NEA than the AFT, there are many people in leadership positions who are likely to vote against the proposed merger.

Some NEA leaders seem unable to put the legacy of rivalry between the two unions behind them. Years of demonizing the AFT as a monolithic anti-democratic organization has taken its toll on their capacity to distinguish rhetoric from reality. It's the old story of if you repeat a lie often enough, you come to take it for the truth.

Others, who never really saw themselves as "labor leaders" appear to be balking at the thought of belonging to the AFL/CIO, clinging to an essentially elitist view that people who work in education are somehow above other working people. This is especially disheartening at the current moment when for the first time in a generation, the new leadership of the AFL/CIO is working hard to revitalize America's labor movement, working imaginatively to reverse its declining numbers with massive organizing drives throughout the nation. They are even meeting with some success. Witness the UPS strike.

Sad to say, I believe many of those who are opposed to merger are selfishly motivated. They fear that the larger merged organization will have fewer leadership positions open to them, fewer opportunities to travel, to attend meetings and to feel important. Such people are unable to get beyond their petty selves and imagine the possibilities of a merged organization with over three million members.

I hope that I am wrong and that the merger will be put together this summer. It is long overdue. My sense is, however, that with the need to get a two thirds vote by a secret ballot, this will be very difficult to do. Should it, by some stroke of luck, pass, a more difficult battle will have to be fought in New York where despite a warm winter, feet are getting cold.

 

PCT MEMBERS LOBBY IN ALBANY

 

Tuesday, March 10, 1998 saw members of the PCT visiting members of the New York State Legislature to advocate on issues of vital interest to education workers and the students they serve. Representing our union were PCT President Morty Rosenfeld, Secretary and NEA/New York Political Action Committee Chairperson Judi Alexanderson, Jackie Pekar, Carmine Foderaro and Joe Marcal. The PCT contingent joined with over two hundred other members of NEA/New York for this annual lobbying event.

Among the important issues PCT representatives brought to the attention of the legislators is the need for what has come to be called a performance COLA (cost of living adjustment) for both the Teacher and Employee retirement systems. This proposed legislation would tie cost of living increases to the investment performance of the pension funds. Currently, the vast sums of money that these funds have generated in the longest bull market in history have been used solely to reduce the employer contribution to the retirement systems. One can get some perspective on just how much employers have profited from the current arrangement by observing that thirty years ago, they had to contribute over twenty percent of an employee's salary to the retirement systems. That figure today is a bit over one percent.

At the same time that public employers at the state and local level were experiencing this windfall, retirees have been suffering an erosion of their purchasing power. The only efforts to help them have been a very occasional supplementation by the legislature. There are many retirees whose health insurance costs exceed the amount of their pensions. They deserve better for their years of faithful service.

The PCT delegation also spent a great deal of time educating legislators to the need to pass legislation to make whole those teachers who began their careers in a particular tier of the retirement system and then left teaching for a period of time, usually to raise their children. Legislation to correct this inequity has been introduced and would provide that teachers returning to service after a period out of service would be returned to the retirement tier that they were in when they first joined the system.

At the top of our agenda was also voicing our opposition to the governor's proposal to create charter schools in our state. These schools under his proposal would not need to employ certified teachers, would not be bound by the same State Education Department regulations and would not be legally bound to employ bargaining unit members on their staff.

These and other issues will be discussed when the PCT along with its sister local on Long Island attends the legislative cocktail party scheduled for March 26, 1998. Speaking of our upcoming legislative cocktail party, the PCT still has a few places for any member who wishes to attend. If you are interested, please call the PCT Office.

 

PROPOSED CALENDAR 1998-99

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anthony Cavanna, has proposed a calendar for the 1998-99 academic year ( See below). Next year will be one of those difficult years for which to construct a calendar satisfactory to everyone. While the superintendent's proposal will inconvenience some, it is clearly aimed at avoiding starting school before Labor Day or shortening the long holidays. Members are asked to react to the proposed calendar through their SRC reps. SRC reps are asked to forward staff reactions to the PCT Office by April 1st.

 

CALENDAR FOR STUDENT ATTENDANCE, 1998-99

  •  
  • September

    7 -----Monday------------------ Schools Closed---------------- Labor Day

    8----- Tuesday------------------ Schools Closed---------------- Superintendent's Conference Day

    9----- Wednesday--------------- Schools Open -----------------1st Day of School K-12

    21---- Monday ------------------Schools Closed---------------- Rosh Hashanah

    22 ----Tuesday------------------ Schools Closed-----------------Rosh Hashanah

    30---- Wednesday--------------- Schools Closed---------------- Yom Kippur

    October

    12 ----Monday-------------------Schools Closed-----------------Columbus Day

    November

    11--- Wednesday ---------------Schools Closed----------------- Veterans' Day

    26---- Thursday----------------- Schools Closed -----------------Thanksgiving Recess

    27 ----Friday--------------------- Schools Closed

    December

    25--- Friday ---------------------Schools Closed------------------Christmas Recess

    January

    1 -----Friday ---------------------Schools Closed------------------(Schools reopen Monday, January 4th)

    18 ---Monday------------------- Schools Closed------------------ M.L.King Jr.'s Birthday

    February

    15--- Monday --------------------Schools Closed----------------- Mid-Winter Recess

    19--- Friday

    April

    2 ----Friday----------------------- Schools Closed

    9---- Friday----------------------- Spring Recess

    May

    31--- Monday --------------------Schools Closed------------------- Memorial Day

    June

    25-- Friday------------------------ Last Day of School For All Students

     

    27 --Sunday -----------------------Graduation

    There are two snow days built into the calendar,

    April 1 and May 13.

     

    KAUFMAN SCHOLARSHIP FUNDRAISER PLANNED

    "TEE - IT - UP " FOR EXCELLENCE

    (In memory of Roberta S. Kaufman)

     

    Spring is here and the daffodils are not the only things coming up during Women's History Month. In fact, we are coming into a season that reminds us to reflect upon memories of esteemed women in our past so as to enable us to build stronger, brighter futures for those students with whom we are working today.

    The Foreign Language Excellence Association, supported by the Foreign Culture Club, proudly presents its first district-wide fundraising event to be held in memory of our deeply missed friend, colleague and union advocate, Roberta S. Kaufman. The funds raised will become the primary foundation of a scholarship fund in Roberta's name, to be awarded annually to one special senior at POBJFKHS who has been studying Spanish at the college level and who has best exemplified Roberta's determination, perseverance and zest for success in the study of Foreign Language.

    On Thursday, June 16th at 1:30 pm (on the last day of classes) we will hold our first POBFLEA Charity Golf Classic at Bethpage State Park, site of the USGA Open in the year 2002. This event will be followed by a Gala Dinner Party in Roberta's honor, in the elegant Heritage Room overlooking the golf course. Family and friends of the Kaufmans, our community and corporate associations at large, as well as our administration, faculty, staff and students past and present of POB Central School District are invited to participate in this charity event on many different levels. The success of this event depends on our participation and the variety of sponsorship opportunities available, will be explained in future memos.

    In the meantime, this event is designed to bridge our school with the community, while incorporating the energy and passion of our students through community service, in developing a foundation in memory of Roberta. Thank you in advance for your anticipated support and participation. If you have any questions please contact Christina Visbal at POBJFKHS at 937-6437.

     

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